Taylor released a master plan this semester for future construction plans.
This plan includes details regarding the residential village, welcome center and possible construction locations across campus and into Upland.
Ron Sutherland, special assistant to the president, spearheaded the project. He worked with administrators including Julia Hurlow, associate vice president for student development & director of residence life, and Skip Trudeau, vice president for student development & intercollegiate athletics, director of the master of arts in higher education program.
The board approved campus-wide changes, which have since been grouped into a master plan, Sutherland said. This project is set to be completed within the next five years.
“The strategic plan talks about what majors we're going to offer — talked about what living will be like on campus, and are (we) committed to residential campuses going forward,” Sutherland said.
The leadership team met with parents, alumni, student leadership and external consultants to make sure all voices were heard and valued during this process.
Throughout his time at Taylor, Sutherland has had a role in between five to seven master plans.
Because the campus is changing so drastically and consistently, it becomes difficult to create plans that last longer than five years, Sutherland said. In order to maintain student feedback and ensure projects are moving alongside student values, strategic plans must be synthesized, changed and solidified.
“I jokingly say a plan is good until it's printed,” Sutherland said. “Then it starts to change because you're always considering new ideas, so it's not meant to be a hard and fast rule book as much as a guide.”
The main goal of the residential village is to create dynamic housing on campus that can either be used for student housing or, if the situation arises, for faculty to be temporarily housed on campus. In such a situation, students would be given priority for housing, Sutherland said.
A separate goal for the residential village is to increase housing options on the south side of campus. Currently, apartment-style residences, including Wolgemuth and Campbell Halls, are located on the north side of campus. In order to create more community between upperclassmen living in apartments and their previous wing cultures, there is a need for housing across campus.
“This actually allows for some of the seniors and those who live in those (apartment) spaces to stay on the south side and potentially engage their community relations because they're down on the south side of campus,” Sutherland said.
The master plan also details other potential locations on campus where new buildings could be constructed if needed. Some of these potential locations include an addition to the Zondervan Library, the Randall Environmental Center and the Nussbaum Science Center.
Taylor has also recently purchased the Delta apartments near Samuel Morris Hall on the north side of campus.
The current plan is to walk through the on-campus apartments and identify any necessary repairs, in addition to cleaning and new furnishings. The apartments are projected to finish in the fall to provide additional housing for students.
“Apartment-style living has kind of been a trend in higher ed for quite some time,” Trudeau said. “Delta was available, and anytime a property that closes — literally on campus — becomes available, the university is going to look at that.”
Trudeau is encouraged by the growth in the student community and sees new housing ventures as a sign of a healthy community — one that will continue to grow.